Oct 30 2014

on lacing life with color

The grey months are coming, and I look to them with a mix of longing and trepidation. There are so many things I love about winter, I just wish it could be a bit shorter. But no matter, just now there is color and contrast on the cusp of November, many trees are bare, especially up here at the top of this hill, but others are holding on to their color, clinging to it, really, not ready to let go of another year’s palette.

Mother Nature is a magical painter.

October was a month of scurrying, like a squirrel packing away sustenance. Getting things done in a rush and flurry, because November will be busy in other ways, and this year will fly off into the next before I can catch my breath. But that’s what winter is for, here, nights by the fire and days lit by the sparkling gift of snow.

It’s so easy to talk myself into loving winter in October. By March I will be singing a different tune, and longing for the first hint of green. But that is what I love about the seasons, each one so distinct, with the comfort of their pattern woven in to the tapestry of years.

The forest of kisses that kept me company all summer long is gone. The purple monskhood outside my window is fading quickly, the last bit of color in the landscape of change. I didn’t know, when I planted it there without thinking all those years ago, that it would become my favorite bit of autumn. It’s a plant that asks only to be left alone, a plant that performs without coaxing. There have been times when it has bloomed through the year’s first snow.

We’ve become old friends, perennial sisters, moving through life together.

Bloom, rest, grow, bloom again. Each step in the process just as vital as the next.

The lesson my garden keeps trying to teach me, in whispers and in shouts as loud as the red of this dogwood’s branches.

I listen, I ignore, I listen. I force myself to pay attention.

I learn.

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Oct 28 2014

a piece of me
is always flying

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out of focus by default

feathered in darkness

made invisible by midnight

reaching higher

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a silhouette

formed by stars

and expectation

spinning tumbling diving

straight for the heart

of a nest

made from twig and

woven promises

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always landing

skewed and off center

grasping finger and foothold

holding on letting go

fluttering

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Oct 25 2014

autumn was forged
on the crest of bare hill

my ancestors
ate bones for breakfast

rolled skulls downhill and
named them boulders

i sit on the shore
of borrowed time

listening for home and
waiting for whispers

knitting stories with wool
gathered from the vines

on these ice carved hills

a cradle of lakes strung together
by the unraveled skein of impermanence

and history warms my skin as the sun
slides down between grand houses

built for wide-eyed strangers

once, in winter
i walked over this water

a solid white surface laced with holes
left by disappointed fishers

and my father caught my hood
just as I slid into the calm crest of frozen

saving me with love and quick reflexes
on a morning filled with grey-solid echoes

a memory of almost ending

lost beneath the bleached white
surface of ancient fealty

crackled feathers floating down
through tributary motion

slipping silent from a pocket
left behind long ago

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Oct 23 2014

on getting to the point

I’ve spent the last several months wrestling with time, and of course, time keeps winning. And that is the way of things. I accept the truth of that, but keep fighting just the same, always looking to eke out those few extra minutes.

I wonder how long I can subsist on this low-level adrenaline, when I already know the answer. Even so, I keep pushing. Most mornings I wake up and work on my story, struggling to remember what I wrote the day before. I have packed my mind with white noise, and there is no room for remembering. Lists take care of that for me, at least most of the time.

What I need is a week of writing, what I need is a vacation, what I need is always something other than the circle I stand in. Except it isn’t, I know this, and so I plod on, marching in place and putting down words I hope are coherent.

I refuse to give anything up. Even though it would be easier and smarter and even better, perhaps. There is a sense of urgency coursing through my veins, and I’m not sure where it comes from. In the dead of night I find it frightening, but by light of day I take advantage of this feeling, allow it to push me one step further.

Projects I started last autumn are slowly being finished. And maybe that’s what’s behind all of this, making up for the lost time of last year when being sick kept me from doing anything. I have more energy these days, and I take advantage of that, too, forging on.

And it’s all okay. Winter is coming and I will hibernate and rest more than I care to before spring arrives, to save me once again from my own ennui.

Life is full of contradictions. Cute curlicues and sharp-edged points. My focus shifts between them, but always, my eye seeks the light.

And it’s words that lead me there, even when time tries to stand in my way, even as we circle each other in the dance of existence.

This year, I lead, next year, who knows? I just close my eyes and listen for music.

My mind keeps humming.

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Oct 21 2014

nothing new under the sun
(in between a rock and a hard place)

i find strange comfort in knowing it’s all been said before

the same sun rises every day
to watch us evolve
yet leaves us in darkness the half length of night

the differences between us do not show in our shadows
those shape-shifting liars we cannot escape

and we rise to every occasion
donning hero aprons and pattern painted nails
to whip up the false strength to fight
or some new brew that will do the job for us
alter reality just enough
to make one of us believe
the mirror is honest

but none of us can see what’s beyond that glare
sparkling decoration conceals our blind spot

and history tells the truth every day
even as we turn our bent-backed bodies
because hope is the secret that leads to survival

while the moon reflects only true light

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Oct 18 2014

the language
of flowers {16}

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even when

you feel spent

and fragile

you are scattering

tomorrow’s seed

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Oct 16 2014

in my dreams

we’ll have tea and talk about life

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what i am wishing for in the midst of a week of overwhelm

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cookies would be nice, too

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Oct 14 2014

an imperfect ballet
(the underside of everything)

these are the berries
that feed the birds that plant the trees

this is the dance we all sway to
inside the circle we draw ’round our feet

a hole and a window were the very same thing
before the mirage of glass was invented

looking out, climbing in, always scrambling for the light
when it’s the wind that moves us

the invisible made visible only through friction
and the lost enchantment of passage

the temporary existence of each leaf
is a mirror

dawn and dusk’s lost reflection
miming minutes dressed in gold

the imminence of flight
ever present

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Oct 11 2014

eternity’s grace

evidence of yesterday’s kisses
spill over into the long season
of shedding

new skin lies smooth beneath
the crackle dry surface

of the dream you had at twenty
the one that stole your color
by breathing green into a night
bargaining for darkness

you held hands with the prince
of petulance and whisper gestured
your undying fealty
to the king of lacrimosa

but the birds
pick your bones clean
now
after every word’s been spoken

you feed their flight
with dried up chips and bits

of purple

offering up the life
that was singularly yours

food for folly and for freedom

as the sky rests its head
on your satisfied
shoulders

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Oct 9 2014

poetry in motion:
flowers for elinor

some years the monkshood never manages to bloom
before frost bites into tender petal

this year an exception has been made
and purple wins the prize of everywhere

last night i spent hours cleaning words
blowing dust from ancient pages
remembering who i was when i first read sylvia

there’s a book on my shelf
called Nets to catch the Wind
(just like that with a lowercase c)

from aunt blanche and uncle doc
christmas 1929

an unassuming volume marked
by a long ago girl who
probably dusted once or twice herself

i have books signed by anne waldman
robert creeley, olga broumas,
diane wakowski
and the one i bought when i took
that class from ginsberg

but i am drawn to this plain covered
slim dusty tome written by elinor wylie

DISCARD stamped just above
the tiny handwritten inscription

as the monkshood sways in the breeze
catching time in a net made of season

both wind and word whispering
of days long forgotten

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